Florida State University prides itself on traditions, from its roots as the plantation of Thomas Jefferson’s sour-mouthed grandson to the racist yet sternly accepted Warchant. Another light-hearted tradition on campus is the one where you gently kidnap your friends and drop them into the haunted Photo Op Fountain on their 21st birthday. This weekend, however, one Sephora Beauty Insider mixed things up a little.
FSU Junior Monica Strong turned 21 on Saturday and was acutely aware of this fountain tradition. She had plans to light 14 candles around her bath, pour herself a big girl glass of Franzia and read Rupi Kaur until she couldn’t remember her ex’s name. Monica’s friends had other plans for her 21st, but they are terrible at keeping secrets. She knows that they love to follow trends, especially André, who still wears Toms and planks in every group photo. When her birthday rounded the corner, Strong was prepared. She didn’t know which car they’d pick her up in, so she hid lavender bath bombs under the passenger seat of each of their cars. That way, she’d get some pampering no matter what.
“I told them, ‘y’all, I don’t care what we do for my birthday. I just want to relax.’ They love me enough to know that was bullshit, though,” said Strong as she documented the night in her journal then sprayed the page with eucalyptus relief spray she bought at T.J. Maxx. “So when I was halfway through my third glass of wine and crying into the ‘breaking’ section of Milk and Honey, I heard banging on my door and my friends bursted in wearing Trader Joe’s bags on their heads. I wore my bikini in the bath in preparation, but when Jen saw it, she thought I was suffering from rock bottom self esteem. She spent the whole car ride crying and telling me how beautiful I am.”
When they arrived at Westcott, Strong’s friends lifted her out of the car and she discreetly grabbed her hidden bath bomb. Everyone was laughing and cheering Monica on as she took her victory lap around the fountain. While getting up to leave, they noticed the water turning purple and starting to smell like lavender. It was then that Monica sat down in the fountain and pulled out the french fries and champagne she’d inexplicably hidden in her bathing suit.
“Come on Mon, we’re going to Bull’s!” her friends said.
“Y’all go ahead, I’m taking a me night.” said Strong, pulling out two more bottles of Two-Buck Chuck she’d tied to the base of the fountain the night before. “You don’t always have to be strong.” she whispered to herself.